Sermon excerpt on John 20:14-18*
Consider this: A woman was the first witness to testify of the Risen Lord. That might not seem like such a big deal to you, but in context of the Judeo-Roman world, it was massive. Why? In those days a woman’s testimony was generally regarded as invalid and inadmissible in court on the basis of her weaker gender.
Now, if Jesus’s disciples had fabricated the story of the resurrection (as some critics claim), surely they would have altered the story to make it more credible in the eyes of the culture. In other words, they would have left out the testimony of a woman entirely, or they would have substituted a man for the the woman — perhaps John for Mary.
Yet what did they do? They followed the lead of the Holy Spirit who helped and guided them into all the truth concerning Jesus.
Contra mundum, God staked the witness of the resurrection of his Son and our Savior on a woman’s testimony.
And not just any woman.
An emotionally distraught woman. She wept at the tomb.
A single woman. She had no husband to vouch for her.
A woman with a sketchy past. She was once possessed by demons.
Above all else, a devout women. She followed Jesus before, during, and after the crucifixion. She followed Jesus from life to death to life after death.
The weeping disciple became a devoted witness of the Risen Lord. Thus, Mary of Magdalene became Mary the Messenger.
These things were written that you might believe that Jesus is the Son of God and receive eternal life in his name.
*Delievered at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Greenville, Texas on 15 January 2017.